In our survey which ended on August 18th 2019 we found that the FAVOURITE school subject was maths. Now, in our survey ending on 18th January 2020, we find that maths is the LEAST FAVOURITE school subject. Can it really be that children’s opinions change so dramatically in just 5 months? The answer is no!
This apparent contradiction can be explained as follows: In our survey last August, about 26% of children said that maths was their favourite subject but this left 74% who said is was NOT their favourite. It now transpires that amongst that 74% there are 17% of children who say it is their LEAST favourite subject and it is that answer that tops our poll this time around.
What we can conclude from this is that whilst many children love maths, there are also many children who hate it.
For all you budding mathematicians who love maths, now might be a good time to explain how figures can be interpreted in several different ways. At the same time, all you maths-haters will be pleased to know that maths isn’t everything – you need some common sense as well!
Polls, surveys and statistics can be relied upon provided they come from a dependable source but it is important to remember that there are always many different ways of looking at the same set of figures.
Let’s take the example of an opinion poll asking people spread throughout the country who they will vote for in the next election. You might think that the party that polled the highest would automatically win the election but things are much more complicated than that because so much depends upon the vagaries of the election system.
In the UK we have an election system known as “First Past The Post” and using this arrangement it is possible for a prospective MP to poll many thousands more votes than his/her nearest rival but it results in winning only one “seat” – one “constituency”. At the same time, in another area an MP might win by just a single vote but that also results in winning just one seat and it has exactly the same “value” as the person who won by thousands.
In the UK election last December, the Liberal party got 11.5% of the total votes cast but this resulted in them having less than 2% of the total seats.
In the 2016 presidential election in the USA, Donald Trump received less votes than his closest rival, Hilary Clinton, and yet he became president because of the American voting system.
All of which goes to show that figures don’t lie but the way they are used and interpreted are not always fair and they are sometimes confusing.
The take-home point is that you need to fully understand the question and its implications before jumping to conclusions.
Here are the results from the question “What is your least favourite school subject?”
|Least Favourite Subject||Percentage of Votes|